Junior Ryan Hoff notched a hat trick for the Irish on Saturday.

Fifth-Ranked Irish To Open Season At No. 17 Loyola On Saturday

Feb. 15, 2008

#5 Notre Dame at #17 Loyola
Saturday, Feb. 16 • 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Diane Geppi-Aikens Field • Baltimore, Md.

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

The No. 5 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team will open the 2008 regular season with a trip to No. 17 Loyola (Md.) on Saturday (Feb. 16). Game time between the Fighting Irish and Greyhounds is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET) at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field in Baltimore, Md. The Irish are ready to embark on the 28th season of men’s varsity lacrosse at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish finished last season with an 11-4 mark, including a perfect 5-0 record in the Great Western Lacrosse League. The Greyhounds had a record of 7-6 in 2007.

HOW TO FOLLOW: Saturday’s contest can be followed via live stats and live audio on the Internet … simply go to und.com and find the `Men’s Lacrosse’ page and click on `Schedule’ … once there, find the Loyola game and there will be links to both `Gametracker’ for live stats and a live audio link that will carry the Loyola broadcast of the showdown between the Fighting Irish and Greyhounds … you can also sign up for `Irish Alert’, a text messaging service designed to give fans up-to-the-minute game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame.

ND-LOYOLA SERIES NOTES: This will be the 17th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Loyola, with the Greyhounds owning a 13-3 advantage in the series … the Fighting Irish downed the Greyhounds, 9-7, last season in the Loftus Center … Notre Dame is 2-6 all-time at Loyola … the last encounter in Baltimore took place in 2004, with the Greyhounds capturing a 13-7 victory … the first meeting took place in 1982 … the two schools squared off nine straight seasons from 1996-2004 … there also were two NCAA Tournament first-round games between the Irish and Greyhounds in that span … Loyola won the postseason tilt in 1997 (21-5), while Notre Dame came out on top in the 2000 tournament (15-13) … this will mark the 13th straight time that both teams have been ranked at the time of their contest.

ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame returns seven starters and 17 letterwinners from last year’s team that posted an 11-4 record and captured the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) title with a perfect 5-0 conference mark … that was the 10th GWLL crown for the Irish … in 2007, Notre Dame made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and the 12th trip in program history … the Irish fell to eventual national champion Johns Hopkins, 11-10, in overtime during the tournamen’ts first round … the Fighting Irish return four players that earned honorable-mention All-America accolades last season in Sean Dougherty (Sr., D), Joey Kemp (Sr., G), Michael Podgajny (Sr., M) and Will Yeatman (So., A) … Kemp, a two-time All-American, ranked fourth nationally in goals-against average (6.78) and save percentage (.614) one season ago … Dougherty was a key cog in the Irish defense that ranked fourth nationally by surrendering just 6.66 goals per game … Podgajny notched 26 goals, in addition to 13 assists, last season … he was the only Fighting Irish player to score a goal in every game in 2007 … Yeatman led the Irish with 46 points on 21 goals and a team-best 25 assists … the Irish are currently fifth in the Lacrosse Magazine preseason poll and eighth according to the USILA along with being 10th in the Inside Lacrosse rankings … Kevin Corrigan is entering his 20th season as the head coach of Notre Dame … he has a record of 167-92 (.645) during his Fighting Irish tenure … Corrigan was named the 2007 GWLL coach of the year … that marked the fourth time he has received that honor.

ABOUT LOYOLA: The Greyhounds return five starters and 25 letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 7-6 … Loyola is ranked 16th in the Inside Lacrosse media poll and 19th in the USILA coaches poll … the Greyhounds went 5-1 at home last season … Loyola fell at Albany, 19-10, in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament … senior attackman Shane Koppens led the Greyhounds with 46 points one season ago on 20 goals and a team-high 26 assists … junior goalkeeper Alex Peaty started all 13 games last season … Peaty registered a 10.00 goals-against average and a .547 save percentage … head coach Charley Toomey is entering his third season at the helm of the Loyola program … he carries an overall record of 13-12 at Loyola.

THE LAST TIME: In a battle between No. 11 Notre Dame and No. 13 Loyola, the Irish prevailed with a 9-7 victory at home last season … the contest was the season opener for both squads … Brian Hubschmann notched a hat trick for the Irish, while current junior Ryan Hoff and Lucius Polk both added two goals … Will Yeatman and Michael Podgajny also scored in the contest … Patrick Kennedy, Dan Bauers and Greg Leonard all scored twice for the Greyhounds … after Loyola took a 7-5 lead with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter, the Notre Dame defense did not surrender a goal the remainder of the contest … Irish goaltender Joey Kemp made nine saves in the contest.

IRISH IN SEASON-OPENERS: Notre Dame is 20-7 all-time in season-openers, including a 14-5 mark in the Kevin Corrigan era … the Irish have won the last five season-openers, which matches a program record … last season, Notre Dame won its lid-lifter, 9-7, over No. 13 Loyola in the Loftus Sports Center … the Irish last dropped a season-opener in 2002, a 10-9 overtime setback at home against No. 16 Penn State … including this year, the Fighting Irish have opened their slate against a ranked opponent for 15 consecutive seasons … Notre Dame also won five straight season-openers from 1990-1994.

OPENING ACT: Junior attackman Ryan Hoff has scored two goals in both of his two previous season-openers at Notre Dame … Hoff tallied two scores in an 8-4 win over Penn State in 2006 and he scored twice in a 9-7 triumph of Loyola in the 2007 season-opener.

IRISH EARN PRESEASON HONORS: Seven Notre Dame players earned preseason All-America recognition from Inside Lacrosse Magazine and its Face-Off Yearbook … headlining the group for the Fighting Irish were second-team honorees Taylor Clagett (M/FO), Sean Dougherty (D), Joey Kemp (G) and Will Yeatman (A) … joining the quartet of second-team picks for the Irish was third-team member Michael Podgajny (M) and honorable mention selections Ryan Hoff (A) and Ross Zimmerman (D).

IRISH TABBED TO WIN GWLL: Notre Dame was selected to win its second straight Great Western Lacrosse League title according to Inside Lacrosse … the GWLL head coaches selected the preseason order of finish within the league … Ohio State, Denver, Air Force, Quinnipiac and Bellarmine followed Notre Dame in the voting.

FOUR IRISH PLAYERS AMONG IL TOP 50: Four Irish athletes were named to the Inside Lacrosse top-50 players list for the 2008 season … senior goaltender Joey Kemp was the highest-ranked Fighting Irish player as he was 13th overall and the second-ranked goaltender on the list … sophomore attackman Will Yeatman was 15th, while senior defenseman Sean Dougherty and senior midfielder Michael Podgajny were 35th and 37th, respectively.

NOTRE DAME IN THE POLLS: Notre Dame is ranked fifth according to the Lacrosse Magazine preseason poll, while the Irish are currently eighth in the USILA coaches poll and 10th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media rankings.

QUALITY COMPETITION: The Fighting Irish will face four teams that appear in the 2008 USILA preseason coaches poll … Notre Dame opens the campaign against No. 19 Loyola … the Irish will then host No. 11 Albany on March 1 … Notre Dame takes on No. 10 North Carolina in Chapel Hill on March 8 … a Great Western Lacrosse League showdown against No. 20 Denver will take place on April 5 in Chicago.

BROTHERLY CONNECTION: Saturday’s showdown will have brothers on opposite sidelines … Kevin Cullinane is a junior midfielder for Notre Dame, while his brother Brian is a senior midfielder for Loyola … they hail from Southport, Conn. and Fairfield Prep.

KEMP AND WHARTON NAMED `08 IRISH CAPTAINS: Seniors Joey Kemp and Alex Wharton have been named captains for the 2008 season … Kemp was one of three captains for the Fighting Irish last season, while this will mark Wharton’s first year as a co-captain … Kemp, a goalkeeper, is a two-time All-America honoree … he was named the 2007 Great Western Lacrosse League player of the year, in addition to being selected as an honorable mention All-American … Kemp has started 39 straight games in goal during his stellar career … last season, he ranked fourth nationally in goals-against average (6.78) and save percentage (0.614) … Wharton, an attackman, is coming off a career-best season … in 2007, Wharton notched career-high totals in goals (8), assists (10) and points (18) … he played in 14 games with eight starts last season … Wharton has seen the field in 26 career games, including 10 starts … his career totals feature 10 goals, 12 assists for 22 points.

IRISH DEFENSE: Notre Dame boasted the nation’s fourth-best scoring defense in 2007 by allowing a school-record 6.66 goals per game … several key components to the Irish defense are back this season, including goaltender Joey Kemp in goal and starting defensemen Sean Dougherty, Ross Zimmerman and Regis McDermott.

SAVING THE DAY: Notre Dame senior goaltender Joey Kemp, a two-time All-America honoree, ranked fourth nationally in both goals-against average (6.78) and save percentage (.614) last season … Kemp was also named the 2007 Great Western Lacrosse League player of the year … for his career, Kemp has a 26-11 record … the 26 victories rank him third in program history, while he is currently first in school history with a 7.43 goals-against average.

GETTING OFFENSIVE: In 2007, Notre Dame averaged 11.65 goals per game, which ranked the Irish fourth in the nation.

MANNING UP: Last season, the Fighting Irish converted on 50-percent (29-of-58) of their man-up opportunities … that conversion percentage ranked Notre Dame second among all NCAA Division I teams.

FACING OFF: Senior midfielder and faceoff specialist Taylor Clagett has been a valuable asset for the Irish during his Notre Dame career as he has won nearly 60-percent of his faceoff opportunities … injuries have hampered Clagett over the past two seasons, yet he has kept Notre Dame among the nation’s best in faceoffs … last season, Clagett ranked 16th nationally as he won 164 of 189 faceoff attempts … in 2006, he won 126 of 205 attempts for a .615 percentage, which would have ranked him sixth in the country had he appeared in enough games.

FOLLOW ALL ND HOME GAMES ONLINE: All five of Notre Dame’s true home games will feature livestats available through und.com, the official web site of all 26 varsity athletic programs at the University … simply go to the men’s lacrosse page and click on `Schedule’ at the top of the page and find the game that is being played that day and click on `Gametracker’ to follow the game for free.

SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT TEXT MESSAGE SERVICE: Go to und.com to sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans up-to-the-minute game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame.

KEEPING UP WITH ND MEN’S LACROSSE: For results of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse games, call the Notre Dame Sports Hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #5 and #1 … the hotline provides schedules and result information for all 26 varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the match recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website, www.und.com … in addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting assistant sports information director Sean Carroll at Carroll.64@nd.edu … all requests for story ideas, interview access, match credentials, and further information on Irish men’s lacrosse should similarly be directed to Carroll … credential and interview requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance.